Scarring From Dog Bites

Orange County Dog Bite and Attack Lawyer

When a dog bites a human, especially a child, there is a significant risk of scarring. When the teeth of the dog puncture the skin, it is rarely a “down-and-up” clean puncture.  Dogs have a tendency to shake their heads once they clamp down, and our natural reaction is to pull away.  These opposing forces result in tearing injuries above and below the skin.  The uneven nature of the resulting wound increases the likelihood of permanent scarring from dog bites.

Once wounded, our immune system kicks into high gear to ward off infection and protect us from the dog bite. This response can often aggravate the severity of the scar leading to “keloid” or “hypertrophic” scar formation.  Keloid scars present as thicker areas of skin that rise above the normal surface of the skin.  Hypertrophic scars are more common than keloid scars, and also present as raised with a build up of collagen.

What Should You Do if you are Injured by a Dog Bite?

Some scars will fade and become less noticeable over time, many will not. Scars can restrict the motion of an associated joint, or limit the effectiveness of a finger.  Typically, severe scarring will require multiple plastic surgeries or other medical procedures to resolve.

Treatments for Scarring from Dog Bites

The appropriate treatment for scarring from dog bites is based upon its severity and location. If a scar is limiting a range of motion or functionality, the treatment will usually involve surgery.  “Dermabrasion” is a common method for treating the scars of dog bite victims, where the affected area is basically sanded to reduce the presence of scar tissue, while creating a smoother surface for healing.

Plastic surgeons rely on many strategies to repair the damage associated with scars. Excision can be done to create a smoother seam in the affected skin, in effect cutting out the scar and greatly reducing the visibility of any remaining signs.  Great progress has been made in laser surgery techniques designed to reduce the visibility and severity of heavier scar tissue.

Some Dog Bite Scars aren’t “Visible”

Scars are more than a visible reminder of the dog bite or attack. They affect the self-esteem and well being of a dog bite victim, especially when they are children.  When the scars are in highly visible places such as the face, chest, arms or legs the psychological impact can be even greater.  Dog bite victims will require the assistance and support of emotional counseling to recover from the psychological impact of the attack, and to recover lost feelings of security and trust.

Contact an Experienced Orange County Dog Bite Attorney

My name is Rivers Morrell, III and I have served the residents of Irvine, Anaheim, Mission Viejo and all of Orange County for more than 40 years. I have managed hundreds of dog bite cases, and am prepared to ensure that you or your loved one receive the best outcome possible in your case to provide maximum opportunity for a full recovery.  I invite you to contact my office to schedule an appointment, or call and speak with me personally at 949-273-2693 for a free consultation.